Holiday Stress: 5 Coping Tips for Couples - Michael Grinder & Associates

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Holiday Stress: 5 Coping Tips for Couples

Good news! There are simple things couples can do to turn down the stress levels and turn up the holiday joy.

Michael Grinder, the pioneer of nonverbal communication, shares five tips to keep that stress at bay and connect better with your significant other. Enjoy!

5 Holiday Coping Tips for Couples

  • Manage your expectations. Be careful of Hallmark.
  • Beware of unequal levels of responsibility. Be sensitive. Help each other out.
  • Make time as a couple before the holidays and build your energy “reserve bank.”
  • Try to decontaminate by time or location.
  • State it in the positive.

Modified transcript

Michael Grinder here, and I want to talk about couples’ communication during the holidays.

You know, couples trying to handle the stress of the holidays is really, really important.

Think about it. Hallmark, whether it be the TV channel or all the cards that you can buy and send and receive, they always give you the idea: Everything should be easy and smooth.

It’s not.

You know, what I would love to think about for my wife, Gail, and me, is that we’re just really united. We’re sticking it together. We’re doing just fine.

But, how do we get there?

Here are five things couples can do to reduce their holiday stress

1. What are your expectations? How do you manage your expectations?

They did a survey once of the people that were in Silicon Valley, where they had all of the pressure of making computers, compared to people in Colorado that worked for the forest service.

Surprisingly, they found that the people who worked for the forest service were more stressed than the people that had all the time pressure of creating technology — because of expectations, not because of the stress itself.

So when you think about how you manage stress, you’ve got to figure out what your stress is and how to manage it.

But please, be careful of Hallmark.

2. Who has different levels of responsibility?

Think about responsibilities like hosting a get-together, shopping, packaging, sending, and making sure that you make phone calls.

Whoever has the higher level of responsibility, the other one has a lower level. They have to be really, really aware of that.

Now, it’s not a question that would make a lot of sense in terms of just supporting each other. It’d be easy to say that. You have to figure whoever has a higher level of responsibility and they have to communicate well to the lower level person how they can be helpful.

So come on. Go visual if you can, make a list, “Here’s what’s coming up for this week.” Make sure you know, “How can I be sensitive? How can I help?”

What a difference that will make in terms of just helping — but be careful. You’ve got to make sure that you do your “appreciations” of each other before you get into the thick of the season.

The floral industry is based on reactive appreciation. Don’t get caught there. Make sure you say, “Thank you,” before the storm actually hits and you’ll be fine.

3. Make deposits into your couple’s “reserve bank.”

All of us have reserves inside of our bodies. When we’re trying to reduce stress, we’ve got to figure out, “Am I physically in shape? Am I emotionally in shape, mentally, and spiritually in shape?”

So try to get in shape. Try to get away if you can and have time for just you as a couple before you do all the other levels of responsibility.

I love the quote, “Fatigue makes cowards of all of us.” Try to be in shape if you can.

4. Try to decontaminate.

What do we mean by that?

Well, at least in my house, the ping pong table becomes the North Pole. That’s where all the wrapping paper and bows are. That’s where we do all of the packaging together and we have a checklist of which family receives what gift.

My goodness, just taking care of that is unbelievable. But it’s all on the ping pong table.

Where do you put yours?

If you can’t do it by location, do it by time.

So if you’re gonna use the table that you’re gonna eat on, really be careful because it’s contaminated. And please, if you can, don’t do it on the bed. The bed is where you sleep. Try to clean that up if you can.

5. Please consider how to state everything in the positive.

Now, watch me. If I say, “I’m really anxious and depressed and stressed right now,” compare that with, “I’m really trying to be more relaxed. I’m trying to schedule myself. I’m trying to make sure that I’m okay as much as possible.”

State everything in the positive.

Now, if you can do all of those, then you get to relax a little bit more, get to enjoy yourself.

And I just wish you and your partner or partners a lovely, lovely holiday.

Michael Grinder here. Thank you.

Looking for more ways to connect with your spouse?

Check out our Couples Workshop on February 18-20, 2022. Get $50 with early bird pricing through January 18th.

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